We all know that Disneyland opened its gates on July 17th, 1955, but did you know that it was less than two months later that the park welcomed its one millionth guest? On September 8th, 1955 Elsa Marquez, who was just four years old at the time, visited Disneyland and helped the park surpass that important milestone. Because she was the one millionth visitor, Elsa was crowned a Disney princess decades before her icy namesake.
Last year Marquez told the Orange County Register about her experience that day, saying, “It was magical. All my life, I’ve always been a dreamer because of what happened to me.” But it didn’t start out so magically.
As the story goes, Elsa may have actually missed the opportunity to be number one million if her brother hadn’t cut her in line just before entering the park. Elsa entered behind him and, as soon as she passed through the turnstile that afternoon, balloons rained down and music began to sound. She told the Register, “I was terrified. My mom picked me up and a (Disneyland employee dressed as a) sheriff came over and was trying to explain something to her but my mom didn’t speak English. So he grabbed me from my mom.”
That day Elsa got to lead the Disneyland band, ride the Disneyland Railroad with the conductor, and was given a gift basket themed to Lady and the Tramp. Then in the 1980s Elsa was granted a lifetime pass to the park for herself and three guests. At age 65, she still visits the park from time to time so perhaps you’ll spot Disney’s original Elsa for yourself one day.
Source: Laughing Place
Banner Photo Credit: Disney